Cutting Edge Optronics (CEO) was founded in 1992 by a core team of solid state laser scientists and engineers who came from the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company's (MDAC) Solid State Laser group based in St. Louis, Missouri. At that time, in addition to being world renown for solid state laser development, MDAC was also a pioneer and the world's largest developer and manufacturer of laser diodes and diode arrays. When MDAC divested its solid state laser business in the early 1990's, a large pool of available engineering and scientific talent was created in the St. Louis area. CEO attracted that technical talent and used it to build a highly experienced engineering and manufacturing team with backgrounds in epitaxial wafer design, laser diode packing, and the design of ruggedized diode pumped solid state laser systems. During its early years as a private company, CEO leveraged its technical and manufacturing expertise to build its reputation as an OEM manufacturer of laser diodes, diode array packages, diode pumped laser gain modules, and custom military, industrial and commercial laser systems.
In 2000, seeing CEO's engineering and manufacturing capabilities as a good fit with its high power laser group in Redondo Beach, California, TRW purchased CEO. TRW expanded and upgraded CEO's manufacturing facility to accommodate the development of high powered laser diode arrays as well as high power solid state laser systems that were under development at TRW.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman purchased TRW, thus acquiring CEO. CEO was brought into the Aerospace Systems sector of Northrop Grumman. As part of Northrop Grumman, CEO has become the key supplier of critical laser diode arrays and laser system hardware to several major Northrop Grumman Directed Energy, LIDAR, and Range Finder/Designator laser programs. NGAS-CEO has also continued to grow as a leading supplier of these laser technologies in the commercial and industrial markets.
From its inception, CEO has focused on the core technologies and disciplines that are crucial to high-performance solid state laser systems: laser diodes, gain materials, pumping geometries, optical design, control electronics, and system engineering. CEO has developed a vertically integrated manufacturing environment and understands that the interdependencies of these core laser technologies are the key to designing and building successful laser systems. While there are other companies that manufacture laser diodes, and still other companies that build solid state laser systems, there are very few that do both. Not only does CEO do both, but all manufacturing is accomplished in its 36,000 ft², ISO 9001-2008 certified, St. Charles, Missouri facility. As a result, CEO is one of the last laser manufacturers to design and build 100% of its products within the United States.
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Today, CEO has become an industry leader with over (20) key patents focused on laser diode array packaging. CEO's extensive capabilities at numerous wavelengths has led to the development of diode pumped solid state lasers utilizing multiple gain media such as Nd:YAG, Nd:YLF, Nd:YVO₄, Er:YAG, and Er:GLASS. As a result, CEO has high performance laser systems operating all over the world in a wide variety of military, industrial, and commercial applications and operating environments.